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Jungkook has always struggled with knowing when enough was enough.

When no, he doesn’t have to keep studying because he already knows all the course content by heart. No, he doesn’t have to work an extra two hours overtime just to finish a task one of his coworkers could help him with. No, he doesn’t have to work until he collapses. And collapses. And collapses.

-

Jungkook wakes up earlier than usual, blinks up at the stagnant ceiling fan a few times and wonders if he should turn it on. It’s hot, for October. He feels like he can’t breathe, but only for a few seconds. Maybe that’s just him.

He had slept only a few fitful hours, crawling into bed with Jimin at eleven, and being able to fall asleep somewhere around one-thirty. Jungkook really didn’t know what was keeping him so tightly wound, so restless. He was exhausted.

But he couldn’t sleep. Lifting his head off of the pillow, he peeks over Jimin’s sleeping frame and squints to see that it was only a quarter to seven.

Jungkook flops back down heavily, and contemplates trying to fall back asleep, but there’s something small and toxic sprouting, worming around inside of him and he can feel it. His brows furrow in displeasure. He doesn’t know why it’s there.

Jungkook’s stomach starts growling and the noise startles him in the quiet of the morning, jolting. The emptiness that follows gives him a skewed focus before he can feel anything else about it. And then-, then he’s distressed.

Jungkook used to force himself to stay up as late as he could, so that he’d sleep through breakfast and if he was lucky, sleep through most of lunch. He’d wake up, stomach caving and crawling, but he’d be so proud that he’d done something right, that he could simply push past it. Tricking his body into doing something that he’d wanted to do. When he’d first moved in with Jimin, odd sleeping habits in full swing, Jimin had criticized it a lot.

“How do you go for morning runs when it’s two in the afternoon?” He’d ask, nose scrunched up in a cute little quirk Jungkook had started to kiss off of his face.

“I gamed last night, sorry.” He would lie, filling up a glass of water and downing it twice before speaking again.

“You game every night.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook agreed, jumping over to the front door on phantom energy and slipping his shoes on. “I’m going running, catch you later.”

Jimin had put a stop to that.

Finding a decent sleep schedule and building it with Jungkook had been a challenge. He had been completely adverse to it at first. Affronted that someone thought his sleep schedule had to be managed like he was child. Jungkook could take care of himself.

But he didn’t.

 Jungkook didn’t want to change anything, argued very harshly against it with an anger that was so uncharacteristic of it. When he thinks back to the fights he’d had, Jungkook knows he hurt Jimin. Knows that said anything he could so that he could be left alone, dropped and Jimin never did that. Jungkook had pushed so hard he’d only hurt himself and ended up letting Jimin help him. It works simply: when he wakes up, he’ll be hungry and Jimin will already be awake, having something ready for him to eat.

Jimin doesn’t have to do that as much anymore. Most mornings, they’re awake together anyways, just because Jungkook would rather eat with Jimin around.

Jungkook’s never woken up this early, hungry. And it feels all kinds of wrong, because the minute he senses that crave, the dip in his stomach, Jungkook’s completely distraught.

He doesn’t want to be doing this right now. On a morning where he seems to have no energy and his body is being so demanding of him.

It’s not fair. If he doesn’t get up to eat, Jimin’ll be disappointed but if he does get up then he’ll hate himself for it.

Jungkook used to love the ache of an empty stomach. Feeling success in not really feeling anything at all. Even now, he doesn’t know if he’s ever felt more in control than when he’s not. Jungkook still likes that feeling, something he won’t always confess to Jimin, but now he’s more afraid of feeling full.

His stomach rumbles with need again and Jungkook rolls over, wanting to cry at being so entirely unable.

He pushes closer to Jimin and when he looks down at their two bodies together, Jungkook tries not to start comparing them. Sometimes, he really can’t help it, in the subtlest of mental comments.

He’s so much bigger than Jimin, his brain supplies. Jungkook-, he knows that he’s taller than Jimin. Taller and differently proportioned and bodies are like that, he gets it, but Jimin is muscled and sturdy and Jungkook’s just big.

He chews on his bottom lip in thought, knows that he can’t ask anyone for validation right now. No one is awake, no one would give it to him anyways, at least not the way he wants it.

Jungkook got (still gets) the sickest thrill from being told he wasn’t fat, watches people go by and then asks if he’s thinner than them. Elated when he is, detrimental when he isn’t.

It makes Jungkook feel a bit nauseated, when he thinks about how he’d extracted those comments from Jimin, without him knowing why Jungkook cared so much if he was skinny. Jimin doesn’t tell him he’s skinny anymore. And it’s for the best. But Jungkook still wants to hear it. Needs to. Because his brain works that way. It either works that way or it doesn’t work at all.

Jungkook rests his head in the space of Jimin’s collarbones, soft and seemingly made for him. He feels wrung with sweating anxiety when he throws a thigh over Jimin’s body, upset by his squirming and the way the soft flesh of his upper thighs touched. Jungkook had spent hours with his ankles locked together, tensing his muscles, watching how far he had to push himself until the gap became really visible. Until he couldn’t sit down comfortably anymore because the bones in his legs poked out. Jungkook remembers it as the most gratifying of pains. He didn’t have to keep working for it one day, and he’d been so happy.  

(Jimin had called him scrawny that day and Jungkook had beamed. Said thank you so much.)

He just wants to feel loved. Knows that this is too much and not enough and he’s not enough.

Nothing seems to work when he sees the way his leg wraps around Jimin’s body above the covers and God-, he’s so fucking huge. The way the muscles bulge, bigger than anything in the room. A stupid, huge, lumbering idiot. Gross.

Heavy.

Jungkook wants to cry. Wants to cry and surely will cry but that would wake up Jimin. He cares, he does but all of a sudden Jungkook’s been invaded by these feelings he used to think were so good for him, were his way out and he still doesn’t know how to convey to anyone that those feelings haven’t left. He doesn’t know how to tell Jimin that he doesn’t always know he was wrong when he would stare in the mirror and seven different people in the same day because that was easier than looking at himself. Jungkook doesn’t think it’s going to go away. The…thing. It’s not going to leave but Jimin will.

Jungkook is hungry but he tries to mask the sound by rustling the sheets and settling down again. Don’t wake Jimin. Don’t wake him up.

He shouldn’t eat. He shouldn’t get up for breakfast because he ate dinner last night and Jimin had ordered pizza. He’d felt too good, too relaxed and okay last night to worry about it, especially when Jimin kissed him every chance he had.

This morning was different. Three slices of pizza from the place they ordered is about 700 calories. That’s more than Jungkook would even dream of consuming in a day. It was too much. Jungkook had scraped his toothbrush through his mouth vigorously afterwards, trying to desperately get the taste out if he couldn’t get the food out. It was a habit he hadn’t kicked yet.

And it was too early to eat again.

Jungkook has work after his classes today. He’s going to be standing up the whole time, taking people’s drink orders and forcing a thick smile onto his face when he has to turn around to make them. He can’t-, absolutely cannot be fat if people are going to be watching him. He can’t. Jungkook needs to be light on his feet. That’s what he needs.

Light.

When Jimin’s alarm goes off, Jungkook shelters the sound of his hunger once again, burying himself even closer, hiding himself as much as possible. He pulls his legs back under the covers. Jungkook would’ve crushed Jimin, he knows it. He feels big and fat and any word of reassurance Jimin could offer him would taste like a lie when it was kissed into his skin, his thick, rolling, nauseating skin. God, he wants to be nothing. Probably wants to be dead, if he could, if he had kept going he would’ve died, that’s what he was told, he would’ve died would’ve died-

“Good morning,” Jimin yawns softly, shifting around to reach for his phone and to turn his alarm off. For a moment, everything is quiet in Jungkook’s head. Jimin has the power to do that to him. Once they’re bathed in silence again, Jimin moves around so he can lie on his side, facing Jungkook, who has also arranged himself so his head is still in Jimin’s chest. “sleepy baby.” Jimin chuckles, running his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, catching on gentle curls.

He remembers when he wasn’t able to play with Jungkook’s hair like this. When it was limp and brittle, thin and receiving no nutrients to keep it healthy. It’s getting there, getting better. Jimin sighs in gentle contentment.

Jungkook doesn’t know why he pretend to be asleep to avoid Jimin, but it makes him want to cry even more.

Jimin, regretfully, can’t spend that much more time basking in the quiet with Jungkook, because he has a class at eight and needs to start getting ready. When he gently eases himself out of bed, he’s surprised to see Jungkook turn the other way and curl into himself towards the wall.

It doesn’t sit right with him.

“Jungkookie?” Jimin asks quietly, expecting to not be answered. He knows something’s wrong, Jimin is especially attentive when it comes to Jungkook, but right now he can’t figure out exactly what. Sometimes, some days are just garbage.

“You awake?” Jimin presses further, going as far as to now assume he is. Jimin sighs, unsure of what to do. “Are you hungry? I could-,”

“No.”

Ah.

Jimin hates it. Hates seeing Jungkook so good and then suddenly so down about himself. Jimin doesn’t pretend to understand it fully, but that’s why he needs Jungkook to talk to him.

“You don’t even know what I was gonna say,” Jimin whines playfully, keeps the topic light as he fishes around their drawers for a sweater to wear. The only reply he gets is a heavy sigh from the lump under the covers.

Jimin darts out the bedroom for a few minutes, quickly packing himself something to eat on the way to class and packing food for Jungkook too, leaving it on the counter. He heads into the bathroom, grabbing his toothbrush but going back into the bedroom to brush his teeth, so he could stay close to Jungkook.

He sits at the end of the bed, leaning over to pet through Jungkook’s hair. He listens for any indication that Jungkook really is Not Doing Well and that Jimin should stay home with him today, but he couldn’t do that. He had midterms that he couldn’t miss, and Jungkook would never let him miss them.

“How’re you feeling, baby?” Jimin asks, cupping his hand under his chin to catch any toothpaste foam that spills out, as he tries to multitask. He probably sounds not much more than a few gargles, and it does coax a small huff from Jungkook.

“Tired.” A tiny voice answers him back and Jimin’s heart swells.

“I’m sure,” He agrees, quietly. “You’re up really early. You don’t wanna go back to bed?”

Jungkook shrugs, the lump of covers moving with him. “I guess.”

“Resting would be good.” Jimin suggests. He has to subtly get the idea into Jungkook’s head, after he promised there’d be no more first-thing-in-the-morning running until vomiting. Jimin has to remind him to rest and that it’s okay.  

“Do you have an alarm set for your class?” Jimin asks, Jungkook sighs again, not seeming to want to talk about it.

“No, but-,”

“I’ll do it.” Jimin assures, reaching for Jungkook’s phone and using his thumbprint to unlock it. He sets an alarm for in a few hours and places the phone back down. Jimin checks the time while he’s at it, and sees that he really needs to get going. But he doesn’t want to leave Jungkook.

“I’ll be right back.” Jimin tells him, darting back into the bathroom to spit out the foam and rinse his mouth. He goes into the kitchen, grabs a bottle of water from the fridge as well as Jungkook’s vitamin supplements off the counter. The vitamins…help. Sort of. Jimin knows it’s embarrassing to Jungkook, having them lined up on the counter (two for teeth, one for hair, nails, skin, iron, he’s so sick), but if he doesn’t see them, then he won’t take them. Jimin also remembers to grab a breakfast bar, because the vitamins help, but they’re not food. He knows Jungkook’s not going to like any of that, Jimin doesn’t really care what Jungkook like when it comes to this.

He sets all of that down on the nightstand and he knows Jungkook can hear him, even though he isn’t looking. Sometimes, most of the time, it makes Jungkook nervous, how involved Jimin is. How much he wants to know how Jungkook is doing, and if he’s okay, and that he’s not okay. And he’s not okay.

But he’s doing better. Jungkook’s been doing better since he’d been so skinny and working himself to his bones and had landed himself in the hospital. Jimin had felt so stupid for knowing and worrying and not fucking doing anything. Because, when Jimin watches Jungkook and places them back six months ago, of course he knew. How could he have not known? But the fear is, apparently, transmittable. They both know it’s been a terrifying few months, but there’s progress. And Jimin knows how most days now, Jungkook wants to be healthy.

Jungkook doesn’t really understand how Jimin knows all of this and loves him anyways. And he loves him anyways.

“I gotta go, love.” Jimin says, regretfully, eyes staring pitifully at the bunched up covers. He doesn’t even know how much of Jungkook is even under there. “I’ll be back at four.”

“I know.” Jungkook confirms, understanding that Jimin’s only reminding him to make him feel better.

“Let me know how your classes go.” Jimin tries to stall. “I left you food on the counter for lunch.”

“Okay.” Jungkook’s voice is meek, tight in his chest and he doesn’t deserve Jimin caring about him and he doesn’t deserve anything but pain.

“Jungkook,” Jimin starts, leaning over the bed to practically lie on top of Jungkook, sheltering him from all sides for a moment. He feels him stiffen. “I love you just the way you are. And you’re beautiful. And you gotta text me if there’s anything, okay?” He smooths hair away from Jungkook’s forehead so he can plant a solid kiss to his temple.

“I will,” Jungkook forces out, his eyes shut to not have to look at Jimin. Not have to start comparing himself again. “I-, I’ll try.”

“I know.” Jimin tells him fondly, kisses the corner of his mouth before climbing off and picking his backpack off the floor. Jungkook always tries his hardest.

He doesn’t move for a long while after he hears the door close behind Jimin. In the stifling silence, he’s wide awake and his stomach is empty. He feels cold but it’s October so maybe that’s normal. Maybe, he can let himself think it’s normal. He uncurls from his tight ball, but only to starfish out on the mattress.

Jungkook lifts his hands up with the little energy he has, watches his fingers above his face. They’re long, still bony but they’d always been bony so when Jungkook inevitably got fat again, he could say he still had skinny fingers. It’s how it goes. He’ll make the most progress, hear the happiest praises, but words can only get through if they’re sharp.

Jungkook drops his hands down to his collar, letting them feel along the protruding expanse of bone, trailing along to his sharp shoulders. He can hook his fingers around his collarbones, less now than he could before, but still able to reach into the divots and hold on for dear life.

He swallows the spit in his mouth when he skims his fingertips over his shirt, sucking in a breath as he dips his hand under. He touches over his ribs and tries to fit his fingers into the spaces between them. Jungkook breathes out a gross sigh of relief when he can still do that. When his thighs thicken and his collarbones soften but his defenses are still down. If he wanted, he could break himself in. There’s a bitter taste in his mouth when he thinks of that. Jimin wouldn’t be happy.

Jungkook is still sharp and uninviting, but progress feels so much like moving backwards.

If he wants to burn fat on his thighs, on his stomach which dear God, he wouldn’t even think of looking at today, he needed to adjust his exercise plan.

His favourite is running. Always has been. Running for hours on treadmill, the red glint of Intense Mode staring back at him as he only stops when Jimin pulls him off the machine, knees giving out and face hitting the rubber gym flooring. Running around the block, or walking to a far enough park and then running so no one would see him. When Jungkook runs, he feels like he’s burning away the most of himself. And he promised Jimin no running, but it’s not like he’d know if he just ran for a little bit. Just to burn off last night’s dinner and then it’ll be clear slate for him to start all over again. It’s fine. He doesn’t want to get bigger. He’s fine.

Jungkook reaches for his phone to pull up a map of his run. He was supposed to delete them all, and he had, but it’s not like he really forgot. His hand brushes away from the vitamins and the food like he’d been burnt and he lifts the phone to his face, the brightness making his head hurt.

When he unlocks his phone and goes to open up a new tab, his heart is thrumming because he’s excited. Jungkook’s excited to be fucking something up. His body says thank you. His fingers shake as they press on the internet app and he feels on the verge of caving into something that’s been lurking right behind him for so long.

When the page loads he sees that someone has already typed into the search bar.

Showing Results For: I love you jungkookie!!!! You’re the best.

It must’ve been Jimin, Jungkook thinks dully. When he had offered to set Jungkook’s alarm for him, it must’ve been Jimin. Jimin who cared enough.

Jungkook doesn’t realize he’s crying but he wipes at his face anyways, dropping his phone to his side.

When his alarm starts ringing, Jungkook doesn’t get up. He doesn’t even move to turn it off. He lets it blare, loud and brash, overwhelming his thoughts until everything seems to cloud over. And his phone dies.

If Jungkook had continued on his path of a few months ago, he would’ve died.

That’s what his doctor had told him, hooked up to an IV that they had no problem inserting because his veins bulged out so apparently and unhealthily.

That’s what makes eating disorders different, Jungkook knows. He knows they can kill you.

And if he isn’t recovering, he is only closer to dying.

His body is dying and he is doing the killing and he is scared.

Jungkook’s stomach grumbles again, a second revival to his mock burial and he just wants it to stop. One time, he had tried to explain to Jimin why he liked feeling empty. That was only once, but Jimin had gotten so distressed hearing Jungkook explain that he only felt satisfied when he was hungry, only felt good when he felt sick, that all he could do was hug him too tightly and pretend he didn’t hear bones shifting.

Being small makes him feel like he can slip away at any second. Light and breakable and easy to break himself. It makes sense, as long as he doesn’t give it too much thought.

If were still on his path, he would’ve died. Good, Jungkook thinks.

 But not for Jimin, and he loves Jimin more than anything else.

So when Jungkook sits up too quickly and doesn’t remember reaching for the glass of water on the nightstand, he does it for Jimin. When he takes his vitamins but tries to ignore the breakfast bar, he considers it a compromise. But he wants to make Jimin happy, and that’s a feeling that’ll eat at him forever.

So, he tries again. Jungkook reaches for the bar and grasps it, similar to how you’d squeeze the life out of something. He feels it squish together and fall apart inside the packaging, gross and no longer intact. It’s a thing he still does. Makes the food look inedible, unappealing, so then he won’t be tempted to eat it.

His throat feels coated with bile when he goes to open the wrap, the sticky smell of apple-cinnamon and-, and whole grain garbage with extra protein invading his sense. He knows Jimin picks out the ones with the most nutrients, because even though they both eat them, it’s Jungkook who needs it.

The scent makes his head spin, a dormant but ever-present calculator going off in his head on how many calories that is. How many calories over that is fuck-,

Jungkook takes one bite of the gooey mess, holds it in his mouth for a second, feels the way his jaw quivers and suddenly he absolutely cannot do this. He leans over the side of the bed, clutching the sheets tightly as he spits it into the trash can, throwing in the rest of the bar angrily. His eyes prickle with tears as he tries to wash the taste away but it’s always going to be there.

When he collapses back down against the mattress, Jungkook wonders if any stray calories slipped down his throat when he swallowed the water. He shuts his eyes.

It’s always going to be there.

-

Jungkook misses school, and he knows he does. He had tried to get out of bed, to reason with himself to at least catch his second class of the day if he couldn’t make it to his first. There was no point. Jungkook doesn’t listen. Never listens, not even to himself, and he hates himself for it. If his phone weren’t dead he would’ve gotten the texts Jimin sent him throughout the day, asking how he was doing.

There’s a new essence of emptiness that sets in, right below his ribs and near his heart and if Jungkook were any more lucid he’d probably burst into tears. He tries so hard to be good at everything, to make people happy, but he’s lacking and he’s scared.

If he tells Jimin, Jungkook knows he’ll be asked to meet with his therapist. I don’t like her, Jungkook defends himself every time. How can I talk to someone who doesn’t get it?

And in his defense, she doesn’t get it. Because the first time Jungkook had sat down in her office, she’d looked at his file and said that’s quite the girl’s illness, isn’t it?

It’s hard for Jungkook to ask for help on his best days. It’s nearly impossible to get him to ask for help when he doesn’t even want to be helped. If it weren’t for Jimin’s presence-, they don’t think about that. And Jimin’s been with him for years. Years and years of moulding friendship into something else but no one ever really sees everything. Most days, Jungkook still doesn’t accept that he’s sick. That he is ill and that this is reality for him now. Malnutrition and weak teeth and odd growth of hair over his body trying to keep the frigidity at bay. Jungkook’s never been so ugly and for some reason Jimin loves him.

Every day, that’s enough.

-

When Jimin gets home, he is sweating through the cold.

Jungkook hadn’t answered any of his texts, hadn’t texted anyone else (Taehyung looked just as worried when he saw how worried Jimin was).

He’s worried that he’ll get home to Jungkook exercising furiously, which is something he’s not unaccustomed to. Jimin doesn’t know how he’d be able to get him to stop. He worries that he’ll get there and Jungkook will be throwing up. Will be making himself sick and it’s like none of the progress he’d made would’ve mattered.

That’s not true. Jimin shakes himself out of the thoughts. Recovery is non-linear. Jungkook is trying his best. Jimin is trying his best too.

Jimin is almost relieved, when he sees Jungkook’s shoes in the doorway, just as they were before. That means he hadn’t left the apartment at all.

“Jungkookie? Baby?” Jimin calls, dropping his bag and kicking his shoes off, making his way towards the bedroom. He looks around the little living room area, just in case Jungkook was curled up on the couch. He wasn’t.

Jimin pushes open the bedroom door and finds Jungkook lying in bed, unmoving, just as he’d left him. It makes him so sad.

“Baby,” Jimin breathes quietly, and he hates himself for being gone all day. For not coming home sooner. When he gets closer to the bed, he sees that the vitamins were taken and the water had been drunk, but the bar was lying in the garbage. “baby. I’m home.”

Home. It sounds like such a distant echo in Jungkook’s fogged, muggy mind that he isn’t even entirely sure he’d heard it. He doesn’t even know if he can peel his eyes away from the ceiling, his corpse off the mattress. Home.

“Jiminie?” His voice is dry and cracked and Jungkook can’t even feel himself speaking. He is hovering away from his body, away from all of this.

“Yeah, sweets.” Jimin replies, unable to stop himself from lacing his fingers with Jungkook’s limp ones and squeezing a few times. “It’s me.”

Jimin only gets back at the end of the day.

“Four?” Jungkook asks quietly, mouth heavy and tired and disoriented with something sad.

“Yeah, it’s around four.” Jimin confirms, eyes sad as he watches Jungkook flicker between losing himself and coming back to Jimin.

“I’ve…”Jungkook trails off, brows furrowing as he continues to stare at the ceiling. “I’ve, been here all…day?” Jimin doesn’t know if Jungkook is asking him or telling him.

He seems so sad and small, thrown against the rumpled sheets like someone got bored of playing with him. Jungkook got bored of trying. Tired of it. Jimin doesn’t know.

“I think so.” Jimin says, keeps his voice calm when Jungkook is like this. Split down the middle in a dissociative episode that Jimin knows can happen but doesn’t always see. He tries to bring him back to a semblance of reality, as much as possible.

“Let’s sit up for a bit, hm?” Jimin suggests, hands barely touching Jungkook because he sees the way he winces and it makes him want to cry for him.

“I didn’t,” Jungkook loses his thought as he’s pulled into sitting up. He blinks repeatedly, Jimin can practically see the way his mind swims underneath his pale, sickly skin. He’s so dizzy and he feels so guilty. “move?”

“Hm?” Jimin checks, steadying Jungkook, still by his shoulders. “What was that, love?”

Jungkook was the worst. And his head swims with sick. “I didn’t move.” He repeats a lot clearer, more to himself than Jimin, as he’s yet to look him properly in the eyes.

“I know.” Jimin sighs, figuring just as much without Jungkook having to tell him. He knows he hadn’t eaten.

“Jiminie,” Jungkook’s fingers grip at the bottom of his shirt and his eyes are lot less lost, more tearful and confused as they lock onto Jimin’s.

Jimin wants to help him so badly.

“You’re okay,” Jimin soothes, rubbing small circles into his shoulders and ignoring the unnatural dips. Jungkook seems so distressed, like waking from a nightmare only to realize you’re still in the nightmare. And the nightmare is your body.

Jungkook had explained that to him, once.

“Jimin,” Jungkook chokes off, upset and confused at how he spent the whole day in bed when he had one job to do, which was go to school and be normal. Be normal. He doesn’t understand how he lost track of all time, of everything that wasn’t berating himself mentally. “I didn’t move.”

“I know, baby.” Jimin tells him again, pulls him a little closer so Jungkook’s head can rest against his chest. It might not be the most comfortable but it’s comfort.

“I’m so fucking depressed.” Jimin hears Jungkook mumble tearfully into the fabric of his shirt, and Jimin only holds him that much tighter.

“You’re okay.” Jimin says, leaning down to kiss his hair. “We’re both okay, now. We’ll be okay.”

“I’m so tired,” Jungkook complains, and Jimin’s having a hard time telling whether Jungkook is crying or not.

“It’s been a hard day inside your head, bun.” Jimin validates, earning a small sob and a shudder from Jungkook. “Sometimes, that happens.”

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook squeaks out and Jimin just wants to hold him until he fits right all over again. “I’m sorry,”

“Don’t apologize to me.” Jimin tells him. Jungkook knows what he means. Knows that he has to stop taking revenge on his body and that he’s hurting himself more than anyone else.

“I’m just,” Jungkook starts, voice thick with a stuffy nose. “sorry.” And Jimin believes him.

Jimin lifts Jungkook’s head out of his chest, watches the way he winces at the movement. He cups his face in his hands, smoothing his thumbs over Jungkook’s hollowed cheeks. His eyes are red, wet and slightly puffy. He chews on his bottom lip while he waits for Jimin to speak.

“Listen to me, Jungkookie,” Jimin starts, Jungkook nods. “I’m going to call Seokjin and tell him you’re not working.”

“Hyung-,”

“You can’t, my love.” Jimin tells him, with a soft shake of his head. “You don’t feel good. We both know it. Seokjin’s not gonna be mad.”

“But I have to work,”

“You have to take care of your body, first.” Jimin argues gently, knowing that nothing Jungkook could say would deter him. Jungkook wipes at his eyes a few times, before tiredly nodding in agreement. Slip ups are terrifying to both of them.

Jungkook looks like he wants to say something, or do something, but he also looks like he doesn’t want to cry, something Jimin is familiar with. So, Jimin manoeuvres them until they’re both lying down, chest to chest, and Jimin can feel calm knowing he’s holding onto him.

Jimin holds him for a while, like this. Listens to the soft sniffling he can’t really help and the quiet putters of his steadying breath.

“How’re you feeling?” Jimin asks, after he sees the time and notes he should probably make supper.

Jungkook shrugs gently. His voice comes out quiet and meek. “Dizzy.”

“Mh,” Jimin listens, petting a hand down the length of his back. “wanna come make supper with me?”

“No.” Jungkook admits, and he feels guilty, and he knows he sounds guilty, but he has to say it.

Jimin smiles apologetically, tilts Jungkook’s chin up so he can kiss him. “I know, baby. But we’re eating, regardless.”

Jimin manages to steady Jungkook out of bed, who clings to him like a final lifeline and it’s enough to make Jimin want to never stop holding him.

Jungkook sits up on the countertop while Jimin rifles through the pantries, deciding on what to make with their fairly limited food supply.

Jimin knows that even though Jungkook said he didn’t want to make supper, he would’ve followed Jimin anyways. It was a way for him to see that everything he was eating was going to be good for him, and that he could trust the ingredients he was putting into his body.

“Can we go easy, tonight?” Jimin asks, lifting his head out of the refrigerator to smile up at Jungkook. “Fried rice?”

Jungkook nods, because he likes fried rice. He just doesn’t really want it.

“You want peppers in it?” Jimin asks, looking through their vegetables.

“Mh,” Jungkook nods, his foot thudding nervously against the cupboard he was sitting on top of. “And tomatoes, hyung?”

“Aye aye captain.” Jimin salutes and Jungkook kicks at him lightly with the tip of his foot but he giggles.

“Eggs, please?” Jungkook asks, his voice quiet and nervous. Jimin wasn’t sure why Jungkook wanted to add so many different ingredients to their rice, let alone something calorie-punched like eggs, but he wasn’t complaining in the slightest. He was so proud.

Jimin leant up to kiss Jungkook between his words, relishing in how warm he was. “Anything you want.”

“I love you.” Jungkook breathes, his forehead pressed against Jimin’s.

“I love you.” Jimin tells him back and he’ll never get tired of saying it if it means Jungkook believes him. Even if he didn’t.

Jungkook gets quieter as they sit down to eat, and he doesn’t let go of Jimin. They sit at their small table together, but on the same side. Jungkook is poking at his food more than eating it. He feels guilty for Jimin having to cook if he wasn’t even going to eat it. God.

“It’s literally so fucking good.” Jimin moans around a bite, loud enough that it pulls Jungkook out of his thoughts. He blinks a few times as he watches Jimin shovel enough spoonful into his mouth.

“Huh?”

“Whatever you told me to put in here, Jungkookie baby, you’re a genius.” Jimin praises. He leans over to Jungkook’s plate, a smaller portion, and spoons some up. “I swear, you need to try it, you’re gonna love it.”

“I-,” Jungkook swallows, feels his hands tremble in the fabric of Jimin’s shirt because please please please he doesn’t want to get fat please please. “Okay.” Jungkook accepts the bite Jimin offers him, chewing around it slowly because swallowing it like a hard pill. It did taste good, and Jimin was probably just playing it up so Jungkook would feel better, but he wishes he didn’t have to feel better.

“Great.” Jimin smiles, he kisses Jungkook’s cheek before spooning another mouthful for himself. “You’re doing great.”

Jimin finishes eating before Jungkook manages to, and he helps him by trying to keep him in conversation. He lets him eat what he wants of it, supressing any worried frowns that want to cross his face when he watches him flick off the occasional piece of egg. Jimin praises him softly when Jungkook looks up at him expectantly, tells him how much good he’s doing for himself, how no one’s going to hate him for eating.

Jungkook doesn’t finish his whole plate but he eats most of it.

“I really tried, hyung.” Jungkook admits, watching the remnants going into the trash.

“I know! You did great.” Jimin tells him, because he isn’t too sure how to keep spirits up in times like this but he’s trying. And Jungkook’s trying. That’s enough for the both of them.

That night, Jungkook sits on the couch with Jimin, who watches TV, as he copies the notes his classmates gave him. Jimin asks him how he’s feeling and he says not great but not bad. That’s also enough.

Jungkook decides he really fucking needs to shower, and Jimin’s about to accompany him like he always does, but he tells Jimin he’d rather shower alone. “I don’t really want,” Jungkook trails off, an embarrassed mess of hand gestures and pleading glances cast Jimin’s way in hopes of conveying how he was feeling.

Jimin chuckles quietly. “I get it. Just don’t be too long.”

Jimin is patient with him. Lets him take his time under the water but doesn’t let him stray too far into his own thoughts again. When he peeks his head out of the bathroom door, Jimin hands him the fluffiest pair of pyjamas he had, ones that wouldn’t make him feel self-conscious or exposed. Jungkook kisses Jimin twice before shutting the door again to get changed.

As they’re lying in bed, in the dark of their room, Jungkook smells like fresh peaches and warm skin, Jimin doesn’t want to stop kissing him. His lips are soft and he tastes like mint toothpaste but not because he has something to hide anymore. He lets Jimin shift on top of him, lets him rest his hands on the exposed skin around his hipbones.

“My beautiful boy,” Jimin breathes, hears and feels the way Jungkook’s breath hitches against his lips. “How did I get so lucky, hm?”

“Hyung,” Jungkook asks, his voice always so gentle but this time he doesn’t sound like he’ll break in half. He laces his fingers with Jimin’s over his hipbone, but he doesn’t tug him away. “Hyung, please fuck me.”

“Hm?” Jimin pulls away, dropping one small kiss against Jungkook’s bottom lip. “You want that?”

“Please,” Jungkook nods, cheeks pink and his eyes trying shyly on Jimin’s, who offers him the gentlest of smiles. “please love me.”

“Always.” Jimin rushes out, kissing him all over again with a passion that surges from every part of his body.

Jungkook keeps his shirt on and the lights stay off. One time, amidst violent fragility Jimin had told Jungkook that he tasted sweet, and triggered one of the worst meltdowns he’d ever seen. On nights like these, they do as much as possible to ensure that nothing is…wrong. Even though there is a small voice in Jungkook’s head that supplies: yes- this is wrong!  You’re all wrong! And it doesn’t make much sense.

Jimin makes love to Jungkook slowly, slowly and softly listening for the way he gasps and cries, arches his back and pants for more. All the ways he’s learned to say he loves him.

“My b-baby,” Is stuttered against the shell of Jungkook’s ear, the only way Jimin knows he’s been heard is by the way Jungkook tightens his grip on his shoulder. “you’re so beautiful-,”

“Jimin-,” It’s his way of disbelieving. His way of diverting the topic but Jimin doesn’t relent that easily.

“I love you.” Jimin kisses whatever skin on Jungkook’s face and neck that he can. He’s forever thankful that though Jungkook’s grip on him is constricting, there is an alive body, warm and weeping and his boyfriend is alive. That’s it. He’s alive.

“I love-, ah, you,” Jungkook’s voice sounds teary and breaks off at the end. Jimin knows he’s close with the way his back twists off the bed and settles back down repeatedly. “Jimin,”

“You’re okay, love,” Jimin breathes, quickening his pace. Jungkook lets out a thick sob. “You’re okay, you’re okay, so beautiful-, so beautiful, Jungkookie, my beautiful baby-,”

Jungkook cuts him off with a low groan, quiet and the bubbling of a beginning storm, spilling into Jimin’s hand only a few moments before Jimin comes inside the condom.

Jungkook starts crying before he’s even come down.

Jimin ties the condom and throws it out, wiping his hand on some Kleenex before turning all of his attention back to Jungkook. At times like this, he doesn’t know what else he can do, but he knows Jungkook needed this. Jimin was expecting it.

“I’m tired, hyung.” Is one of the only words weeped into Jimin’s chest, mouth open and gasping.

Jungkook doesn’t say much else, as he cries. Only clings to Jimin like he’s trying his hardest not to drown and Jimin believes him when he says that he is. Jimin doesn’t say much either, just rocks them back and forth a few times as he holds him close. The ways he’s learned to say he loves him back.

Jimin knows it’s not easy living like this. Jungkook knows it’s not easy living like this. That not every day is so bad but every day is something to swallow.

Jungkook stops crying almost as quickly as he started, staring up at Jimin with sore, wet eyes as he calms. He settles his head back down against Jimin’s chest and lets him card his fingers through his hair. Jungkook finds his hand and squeezes it a few times. I love you too.

When it comes down to it, Jungkook thinks, if all they can do is let each other know that they’re loved, loved and safe, then it’s enough. And they’re enough. And he’s tired. But he’ll be okay.